Kennecott’s South Road:Map and Public Hearing Minutes

Please attend the regular County Road Commission meeting scheduled for Monday, October 19th, to voice your opinion on the public portion of the Kennecott Expressway. It will begin at 6:30 pm, at the Commission office in Ishpeming. (Turn right at Ralph’s Deli).  There will be a shuttle bus from SWUP for the first eight people who indicate interest leaving at 6:00pm.

Review: Public hearing minutes (DRAFT copy) below the map.

Map of the Kennecott Expressway:


Marquette County Road Commission

Public Hearing Minutes (DRAFT COPY):

September 28, 2009

DRAFT: Minutes are subject to change and will be considered for approval at the 10/19/09 meeting
Proceedings of a public hearing of the Board of County Road Commissioners of Marquette County, Michigan held on Monday, September 28, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. EST at the Ishpeming Township Hall.
Present: Darryll Sundberg, Chairperson David Hall, Vice Chairperson; Neil Anderson, Member; Joseph Valente, Member and Russell Williams, Member
Absent: none
In Attendance: Jim Iwanicki, Mary Herman, Kurt Taavola, Roger Crimmins, Frank Lorsbach, Al Feldhauser, Mark Holmes, John Meier, Ken Wooley, William Malmsten, Harvey Moore, Cynthia Pryor, Kristi Mills, Jim Nankervis, Richard Sloat, Chuck Brumleve, Dave Allen, Robert Rivera, Nick Taseris, Molly Taseris, Jon Koski and Lisa Brogan.
Call Meeting to Order/Pledge of Allegiance:
Commissioner Sundberg opened the meeting at 6 p.m. and led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Public Hearing: Woodland Road:
Jim Iwanicki introduced the Woodland Road project as a culmination of several entities. He stated that the Marquette County Road Commission has received plans and written documentation regarding this road and there will be two categories of roadway – public and private. He stated that the purpose of the Marquette County Road Commission public hearing is to discuss only the public portion of the roadway.
Mr. Iwanicki said the Marquette County Road Commission will not take action on the road plans but will receive public comment on County Road CV, FY (1/2 mile) and the AAD intersection. In all, the public road portion is approximately 3 ¼ miles. He reported that the proposed roadway plans, for the most part, meet the Marquette County Road Commission road standards for All Season roads. Plans for the public road portions were made available for the attendees and were then reviewed by Jim Iwanicki.
Chairperson Sundberg discussed the Marquette County Road Commission policy on public comment and conduct and opened this portion of the public hearing to public comment.
Chuck Brumleve, KBIC Baraga asked about requirements when filing a mining permit for public roads. Jim Iwanicki stated that it is not normal procedure to do so and stressed the fact that the Marquette County Road Commission is treating Kennecott as he would any developer.

Richard Sloat asked about the flow of traffic and signage for the County Roads. Jim Iwanicki stated that some private roads may have the right of way but a full analysis will be done prior to posting signs on the roads.
Harvey Moore asked about weight restrictions on the proposed roadway.
William Malmsten, UP Environmental Coalition, commented and asked about public access on the road; specifically, allowing access to the Yellowdog Plains and he read a statement on behalf of the UP Environmental Coalition in the interest of preserving the wildlife.
Cynthia Pryor asked if the Marquette County Road Commission would be waiting for the DEQ permits to be approved prior to proceeding with the road approval.
Steve Garsky asked how much is new roadway in the Melvin Creek to the Triple A. Jim Iwanicki said he didn’t know at this time.
William Malmsten asked about traffic regulations being upheld, permission for placement of gates and what will happen to the private road portion when the mine is closed. Jim Iwanicki replied that traffic regulations will be upheld on the public road portion, but are under the jurisdiction of the law enforcement community, gates will not be allowed on the public road portions and Marquette County Road Commission will maintain the public road portion.
Jim Iwanicki stated that the Marquette County Road Commission will not directly see an increase in money with the approval of Woodland Road. He said the indirect benefit to the Marquette County Road Commission will come from gas sales and the percentage of the tax that the Road Commission will receive. He then discussed the proposed road and shoulder measurements.
Jon Koski asked about bridges and mitigation of wetlands. He suggested the mitigation be used in Michigamme Township. Jim Iwanicki stated that the DEQ would deal with wetlands on the public as well as the private roadways. It was then asked if the DEQ funding for mitigation would be affected by the State when the new budget is approved.
John Saari asked how Woodland Road is being funded.
Jim Iwanicki discussed the standards based on subdivision development and the Marquette County Road Commission driveway policy since a private road coming into a public is considered a “driveway”.
Steve Garsky asked permits were needed or given for blasting the hills in that area.
Kristi Mills questioned the treatment of this project as the “same” as any other development considering the size. Jim Iwanicki stated that he is following the
Marquette County Road Commission process for road approval. Ms. Mills expressed her concern that Woodland Road would be a “road to nowhere”.
Robert Rivera also questioned the Marquette County Road Commission treatment of every developer as the “same”, without consideration of the end result of the development. He stressed his concern with contamination and public safety. Jim Iwanicki restated that Marquette County Road Commission has to consider traffic, trucks using the road and the safety of the traveling public. The end destination is not a considering factor in the road approval process.
Cynthia Pryor stated her concern with public safety and asked if there were any alternatives. Jim Iwanicki stated that he has reviewed the report and plans and has found this alternative the safest.
A question regarding the Road Commission being liable for cleanup was asked. Jim Iwanicki stated that the Road Commission is liable for cleanup on the roadway if the responsible party is not found.
Robert Rivera asked the Board to consider the issue of morals in this case.
Further concerns regarding road construction, liability and bonding with the contractor took place.
After discussion regarding speed studies, appropriate signing of speed limits, precautionary signs and AASHTO standards for road construction, the Board was urged to not make a decision until all permits for the mine have been received and approved.

There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Lisa Brogan, Board Secretary

8 thoughts on “Kennecott’s South Road:Map and Public Hearing Minutes

  1. I’ll admit I’m a little torn on the South Road issue. While it’s another step forward for Kennecott, it sure would be nice to have easier access to the Yellow Dog and Mulligan Swamp area. Getting to these areas from Houghton requires some backroad navigation and a lot of time, and it would be nice to spend more time hiking and exploring the area then driving to it.

  2. I don’t get it, first the opposition was opposed to a haul rd on the Big Bay Rd, now they offer an alternative and that isn’t acceptable. Why not think of the added benefits a new road would bring? After the mining is completed, the Co. and its residents and tourists will have another access road to enjoy the area. The other alternative if you don’t like the South Road is to let Kennecott use existing roads and make it their responsibility to make improvements on 510, 550 and AAA all of which are poorly constructed and inadequately maintained. But I guess you don’t want that either. Why not offer some constructive ideas so that we can get this job done correctly? We would all benefit from working together for a better project. Try it sometime.

  3. when the mining is completed, there won’t be much to see. just runoff, contaminents, etc. but hey, it’s only the worlds largest source of fresh water, why shouldn’t we dump a bunch of horse crap into it? we can just change to “the great runoff state”, or “if you seek a pleasant dumping ground, look about you.” give me a break, this mine cannot be allowed to happen. ask wisconsin.

  4. I get it totally! These are delay tactics so that that beautiful and sacred area are not disturbed. I live in Iron Mountain and it took us 3 hours easily to get to Eagle Rock for the “Save the Earth” ceremony. I didn’t complain nor did my husband, we just enjoyed the ride. It was beautiful and relaxing (except for the clear cut we had to drive through). If one mining company is allowed to destroy land for financial benefit others will have easier access yet. We have so few places that are so natural and untouched, why are you complaining about a drive to enjoy that beauty.

  5. Yeah, another access road! Perfect! While they’re at it, how about a water park, some fast food restaurants and perhaps a Wal-Mart in Big Bay?

    It’s the wilderness, stupid! That’s the attraction! The relative pristine state of the area, which will soon change compliments of Kennecott, the DEQ and the rest of its short-sighted supporters. Mining and road building are not compatible with wilderness and this is one “tourist” who will NEVER return to this area because of this project.

  6. Jacob,
    You are alittle torn, let us see, you are more concerned about not having to drive so far than you are about Kennecot turning the U.P. into a chemical sewer.

    You are right, you don`t get. Your statment is, think of the benefits of having a road after the mining is completed. What benefits will there be? Polluted streams, air, and soil will turn the U.P. into a lifeless landscape which no one would want to use your new road to visit.
    You people need to wake up and consider the horrible damage Kennecott will create in the U.P. and stop talking as if it is a done deal. Your ho-hum attitude is so pathetic.

    Seth from 510

  7. I hate the idea of putting a road through an area that is as undeveloped as this region the proposed road is planned. Take a look at a map of the UP and you’ll notice that one of the largest masses of land in the whole region without paved roads and traffic is the Yellow Dog Plains. Place better signage on the existing roads up there if you want to help tourists through the area but blaze a paved road right through the center of it. The whole idea seems asinine to me and short sighted. Ever drive the Peshekee Grade? This Kennecot Project is not indefinite, when they are done strong arming their way into this area and taking what they need, they will leave and the upkeep of that road will lie in the hands of the county road commission who is already struggling with keep up on the exsisting infrastructure. The benefits of this road seem completely short sighted and just another way that Kennecott is going to spoil things that make this area great. This isn’t even bringing to the table the discussion of the mine itself who’s justification is laughable. Wake up people. This region has much more to offer in the way of eco tourism and from people who want to enjoy the natural resources here that make this place so unique to the whole world. That is actually a sustainable source of economic boost to this region. Not catering to the needs of huge multi national corporations that just want to exploit and move on. Sorry but true. I’ve yet to see a suitable defense to why this sulfide mine should be allowed.

  8. Are you haul-road proponents absolutely stark-raving NUTS?? For 31 years we have owned 104 acres in section 24 near Trembath Lake (up Wolf Lake Road) and the proposed haul-road would cut across the corner of this property. PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT LET THE MONEYGRUBBERS GET AWAY WITH THIS RAPE OF THE LARGEST CHUNK OF WILD LAND ANYWHERE AROUND!! They don’t love this land – we do!! To those who cry “Jobs Jobs” — good lord — hitler’s crematoriums created jobs — there’s a hell of a lot more to it than merely “Jobs” !!
    Marquette area voters: PLEASE take note of which of your “representatives” are
    trying to shove this thing down your throat and remember – come voting time.
    Dennis Havlena
    DNR retiree